Georges Seurat: A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte

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A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (Un dimanche après-midi à l'Île de la Grande Jatte), oil painting by Georges Seurat

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (Un dimanche après-midi à l'Île de la Grande Jatte), oil on canvas painting created during 1884-1886 by Georges Seurat, 207.6 cm x 308 cm, displayed at the Art Institute of Chicago

The painting ‘A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte’ (original title in French: Un dimanche après-midi à l’Île de la Grande Jatte) is one of the celebrated works of the French Post-Impressionist artist Georges Seurat (1859-1891). It is acclaimed as a work that changed the course of Modern Art by promoting Neo-Impressionism and Pointillism.

The island of la Grande Jatte (Île de la Grande Jatte), depicted in the painting is an island in the River Seine in Paris. It has now a public garden and a housing development area. In 1884 it was a retreat (away from the city center), where Seurat used to sit in the park and made sketches of the figures there for the composition of the work. He took over two years to complete A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.

The painting is a study of optical illusion, color, light effects, and how the disjointed, tiny dots of colors created images and unified hues through optical illusion in the viewer’s eyes. His experiments with such contrasting and complementing dots of colors made pointillism a more brilliant and more powerful tool to create art than brush strokes.

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